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BC Ferries modifies sailing schedule to and from Horseshoe Bay due to mechanical issues

A passenger catches a nap as the morning light rises over the waters of Horseshoe Bay as the ferry Queen of Oak Bay departs for Nanaimo, B.C. early Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

BC Ferries has cancelled a handful of sailings and made schedule modifications between West Vancouver, Nanaimo and Langdale on Wednesday.

The Queen of Oak Bay, which was set to sail between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay in Nanaimo, was seconded to sail between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale.

The vessel initially assigned to that route, the Queen of Surrey, was sidelined while it underwent an investigation into mechanical issues on the ship’s main engine.

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Schedules were modified in all three destinations to accommodate the vessel swap, prompting BC Ferries to apologize to its passengers.

“We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they may experience as a result of these changes in service,” spokesperson Astrid Chang said by email.

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“For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, we advise customers to visit the Current Conditions section of bcferries.com or follow us on Twitter.”

The Queen of Oak Bay’s 6:15 a.m., 10:40 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. sailings from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay were cancelled, as were its 8:25 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. sailings from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay.

Instead, it sailed between Langdale and Horseshoe Bay, with departures swapped from 5:30 p.m. to 6:35 p.m. and 8:55 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. in Langdale, and from 6:40 p.m. to 7:40 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. in Horseshoe Bay.

The Queen of Cowichan’s Horseshoe Bay departures were changed from 6:35 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. respectively, while its sailing from Departure Bay was bumped up from 8:45 p.m. to 7:40 p.m.

Three Queen of Cowichan sailings on Wednesday morning were also delayed due to a mechanical issue, according to BC Ferries.

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Travellers in B.C. urged to brace for busy long weekend

The scheduling challenges come days after multiple Horseshoe and Departure bay ferry sailings were cancelled due to adverse weather.

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Environment Canada warned of winds gusting up to 90 kilometres per hour in Howe Sound on Monday, and around noon, BC Ferries said it was forced to cancel all its remaining sailings between the two ports. The company was also forced to revise its afternoon and evening schedule between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale on the Sunshine Coast due to cancellations earlier in the day.

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In recent months, Erin McNeely, provincial president of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union, said some travellers have taken their frustration out on his members for repeated cancellations and delays. Many have been due to mechanical issues, he added.

“Investing in BC Ferries to make it a reliable service is hugely important and that includes both the people and the assets themselves,” he told Global News on Wednesday.

“Some of the issues we’ve seen have been mechanical and my members have been working around the clock to fix what they can with the resources provided by BC Ferries the company.”

McNeely said his union has long advocated for additional resources and vessel updates as the BC Ferries fleet continues to age.

By email, Chang did not answer a question about commuter complaints regarding the consistency and reliability of BC Ferries’ service.

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With files from Kylie Stanton

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